Prosocial People Take Better Care of Their Own Future Well-Being


There is neuroscientific evidence that people consider future versions of themselves as other people. As a result, intertemporal choice should refer to the interaction between multiple selves. We combine this notion of multiple selves in delay discounting with the approach for other-regarding preferences known as Social Value Orientation. The Social Value Orientation is a psychologically richer framework that generalizes the economic assumption of narrow self-interest. People are assumed to vary in their motivations toward resource allocation between them and the others. When making such allocation decisions they may still be individualistic, but can also be competitive, prosocial, or even altruistic. We apply an experimental measure of impatience to a sample of 437 undergraduates, measure their Social Value Orientation, and collect selected demographic variables: gender, age, handedness, parenthood, religiousness, and current emotional state. We find prosocial participants to be more patient. Those who care for the others in the present also take better care of themselves in the future. We also find a participant’s age and handedness to matter for his or her Social Value Orientation.

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Da Silva, S. , Matsushita, R. and Carvalho, M. (2015) Prosocial People Take Better Care of Their Own Future Well-Being. Open Access Library Journal, 2, 1-7. doi: 10.4236/oalib.1102181.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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